Inner Quest submerges players into puzzle “happy land” with yet another tile-swapping challenge.
South Wind Games, creators of the addictive Airport Mania, have decided to try their luck with a tried-and-true puzzle formula that’s both accessible and entertaining for players of all ages. Inner Quest tackles the mission with ease and takes us on a new journey that’s full of enticing levels and aims to fill our minds with positive thoughts.
Inner Quest greatly resembles other match-three titles like Jewel Quest, but it doesn’t have a storyline, which is both good and bad. Puzzle games are typically made to be addictive, and the main goal tends to be a high score. In that regard, Inner Quest does it right; it offers mindless, user-friendly gameplay that some users will enjoy. However, plenty of games in the genre have managed to offer a deeper experience by presenting a compelling storyline, and South Wind Games should have taken advantage of that too.
The gameplay consists of matching three or more tokens of the same color by swapping adjacent tokens. However, you have to do these matches over the subtly colored tiles in order to clear the stage. These are not easy to see, but you get used to them after a while. By playing at a fast pace, you’ll increase the multiplier, and when you match four or more tokens, you’ll earn bonus points. If you play in timed rather than relaxed mode, you’ll be forced to act fast, or else you won’t just lose your multiplier, but you could also lose part of the achieved score.
Inner Quest is divided into different themes, and each level has a different board; the tokens are distributed differently, depending upon the board shape. This keeps the gameplay varied, as making matches towards the edge is more challenging. Later on, special tiles will blow up and cause chain reactions, whereas other tiles will be locked and force you to work around them. Special tokens like these keep things interesting, though they’re far from innovative. If you sacrifice part of your score, you’ll also be able to purchase potions that give you temporary guidance, increase your remaining time, or even let you restart the level without taking a loss.
The presentation in Inner Quest is appealing, but it’s too simplistic when compared to similar games. Luckily, the different themes and the varied shapes of each stage help to keep it interesting. The upbeat music is only exciting during the first level, and then it becomes simply repetitive. No one likes hearing the same tunes over and over, especially when it’s just midi-style material.
Unfortunately, this is just a short quest for puzzle enthusiasts. It contains 100 levels of fun, but if you keep at it, it won’t take you more than a few hours to beat, and then all there’s left to do is either play the relaxed mode or do it all over again. Considering it doesn’t offer any unlockables or even online leader boards, how could anyone keep on playing rather than moving on to the next quest?
Inner Quest embarks players onto a new puzzle adventure, and it manages to keep their mind occupied. I wouldn’t say it’s as satisfying as “having a picnic with the people you love” (like the game’s marketing claims), but it is at least as engaging as watching a re-run of your favorite TV show after a hard day at work. Unfortunately, it has more aspects in common with the games from which it drew its inspiration than things that set it apart. On a positive note, Inner Quest is cheap and it’s entertaining, so it’s not a bad choice for those in search of the next “click-and-forget” experience.